Signs of the times: Anti-Trump protestors storm Sunset Park

Signs of the times: Anti-Trump protestors storm Sunset Park
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

Hundreds marched along Fifth Avenue in Sunset Park on Nov. 20 to show solidarity in the wake of Donald Trump’s election as the country’s 45th president. It was an empowering moment for many who opposed Trump and who have felt helpless since his unexpected victory — and one that resonates outside of the neighborhood, said one marcher.

“It felt good to do something after feeling so helpless and disconnected from the election results,” said Sunset Parker Cara Chard who came out with her husband and two daughters. “I think what’s happening in Sunset Park is indicative of what’s happening across the country. People are coming together to show support and so many came out when it was so bitterly cold — it’s a testament to how strongly people feel.”

Demonstrators walked from the park at 44th Street to Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church on 60th Street chanting “Here to stay” — a reaction to the president-elect’s various pledges to deport undocumented immigrants. Marchers even wheeled a 10-foot-tall Statue of Liberty sculpture through the streets, and children and adults bore signs that read “Love Trumps hate” and “This is what democracy looks like.”

The march stalled traffic, and several joined in as demonstrators swept the streets.

It was a day of unity for citizens and immigrants who face an uncertain future, said Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D–Sunset Park), who organized the event.

“I believe in our immigrant community. I believe in the solidarity that I see in the faces of you all today,” he said. “And I believe if we are united like we are today — in this cold freezing moment — that will get us through the darkest moments that we are anticipating.”

On Nov. 15, Menchaca wrote a letter last week alerting the Department of Education that he has received several complaints about school workers harassing immigrant kids in Sunset Park and Bay Ridge, and he doubled down on calling the reports unacceptable during the rally.

“Our schools are experiencing some incredible bias, bullying, and discrimination and we’re here today to send a message to everybody that we’re not going to take it,” said Menchaca. “We’re going to stand up and fight back.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.